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Hierodula membranacea is a large mantid, sharing its common name giant Asian mantis with other large members of genus Hierodula. Its colours vary from green to yellow-green, or even brown to reddish-brown, similar to those of the giant Indian mantis and the giant Malaysian mantis. As the name suggests, it originates from southeast Asia and is among the largest of mantises. Male and female adults reach around 7–9 centimetres (2.8–3.5 in), excluding extended forelegs. It is a cannibalistic species, with the females sometimes eating the males after mating.
Hierodula membranacea inhabits in shrubs and tree areas. It lives in hot and humid climates of temperatures of 22 to 30 °C (72 to 86 °F) with a humidity of 60% to 70%.
Like all arthropods Mantises have a hard shell called an exoskeleton. As they grow, they molt this exoskeleton to allow further growth until they reach their mature size, after which molting will be unnecessary. During the molting process, H. membranacea often does not eat, and avoids exposure to predators as its new shell will initially be soft and vulnerable.
H. membranacea is particularly cannibalistic. Cannibalism in this species is thought to increase female fecundity. These huge insects can also tackle highly predatory hornets such as the Asian Giant hornet.
Reproduction occurs sexually in Hierodula membranacea, with very limited parthenogenesis abilities. A female can be identified from male by her six abdominal segments, whereas males have eight. She also has a much larger abdomen.
After mating, the female may attempt to eat the male to increase fertility, which will entail a struggle. The adult female will lay several egg cases (called oothecae) over her lifespan. From each of these oothecae, up to 150 nymphs hatch after six to eight weeks.
This mantis can jump around twice its body length, and although adults are capable of flight, some females occasionally have been known to jump as adults. When cornered by predators, the mantis will adopt a threat display wherein it rears back with its wings and forelegs spread and mouth opened. Should a predator ignore the display, the mantis will strike out with its forelegs and bite. While mantises are not venomous, such a defensive attack from this large species can be painful and possibly break the skin.
- Barry, Katherine L; Gregory I. Holwell; Marie E. Herberstein (2008). "Female praying mantis use sexual cannibalism as a foraging strategy to increase fecundity". Behavioral Ecology. 19 (8): 710–715. doi:10.1093/beheco/arm156. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
- says, Gabe (2017-02-11). "Preying Mantis eats Asian Hornet". What's That Bug?. Retrieved 2017-07-05.
- Birkhead, T R; Lee, K.E.; Young, P. (1988). "Sexual Cannibalism in the Praying Mantis Hierodula Membranacea". Behaviour. 106 (1–2): 112–118. doi:10.1163/156853988X00115.